Short Stories from the World of Psychosis
By Deirdre Geraghty
Key Themes: autobiographical, psychosis, support, short stories, humour,
This short collection of stories gives the reader a real, tangible and understandable description of the ideas, feelings and processes by which someone enters a period of psychosis.
Geraghty’s considerable gift with language allows one to see and understand what she felt whilst at the same time, like her, not quite seeing and understanding what is happening.
About the Author
Born in the 50s, South London, a middle child of an Irish immigrant family. A 60s free thinker, the 70s brought a responsible job and marriage to a Director of Private Eye Magazine. By the 80s he was out of work and she was pregnant. She found employment two years later which led to psychiatric hospital and schizophrenia. This was put down to cannabis use and followed by 5 years of psychosis and a divorce. She and her son moved to Norwich where she says she spent many years rocking back and forth heavily medicated. She has recently woken up.
I had pondered long and hard on what was happening to me, wondering if it had something to do with where I lived in Wix’s Lane, Clapham Common. Wix was another name for witch. I tried to believe, as I had been told, it had been named after Charles Wix, a builder, but my mind kept coming back to the thought that there was something special about this place.
I searched for older and older maps and then came across one dated 1827. There wasn’t much here in those days just Wix’s Lane, Mount Nod opposite and The Chase.
Wanting to know more I tried to discover anything I could about Mount Nod. It seemed to be situated in what is now the grounds of a monastery. That seemed relevant in itself as many of our religious buildings were built on pagan sites. Try as I did, I could find no information about this place.
And the Chase, why was it so named?
My mind came back to Wix’s Lane. Perhaps it was special. I saw that there were a few buildings on the Lane, one of them on the site of my house. Perhaps it had something to do with this house? Perhaps what was happening to me, this sensitivity that others around me did not have, this awareness of what was going on around me that I had never had before, had something to do with this place. Maybe it had happened to others who had lived here before me. In times gone past maybe I would have been called a witch.
I pictured people gathering on The Chase in times gone past. What or who did they chase? And what happened at Mount Nod opposite. I started to be filled with a fear that the person living on this spot was the prey and hauled off to Mount Nod for some form of ritual. Perhaps it is a place where witches were burnt.
I was filled with a fear that there are still those who would gather in the Chase and that they would be after me.
I tried to look in the grounds of the monastery for a sight of Mount Nod but to no avail. I tried to calm myself with the thought that nothing sinister could go on there now, my mind constantly coming back to the vision of myself hauled off to some unimaginable event.
I spent many nights sitting through the darkness, clutching a hammer, fearing those who might be creeping up the Lane, relieved by the fact that nobody would stop me.